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Destinations International President & CEO Don Welsh shakes hands with an exhibitor as PCMA CEO Sherrif Karamat (at right) looks on during a Business Events Industry Week session.

Business Events Industry Week Makes a Successful Debut

Five industry organizations co-located events just outside Washington, D.C., “to restore what’s been lost these last two years and build the way forward,” said PCMA CEO Sherrif Karamat.

The inaugural version of Business Events Industry Week took place March 23-25 at Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center, drawing more than 2,000 industry members for educational and networking sessions.

A project spearheaded by the Professional Convention Management Association and Destinations International, the three-day series of events was actually conceived in 2019, before the Covid pandemic began, “to bring business-event strategists and destinations together,” according to Sherrif Karamat, CEO of PCMA.

BEIW2022b.pngDestination International’s Convention Sales & Services Summit kicked off the agenda, with 170 participants engaging in panels and small-group discussions focused on how to plan and implement more inclusive events (see photo). Following this, the Events Industry Council hosted its Equity Task Force workshop in a hybrid format.

The next day, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events convened its Women’s Leadership Forum, where 184 female industry professionals came together “for a day of inspiration, insights, strategies, and tools to assist in succeeding through times of change,” said David DuBois, CMP, CAE, president and CEO of IAEE.

On the final day, Destinations International and PCMA co-produced Destination Showcase, an exhibition that allows planners to meet with potential host destinations. The show attracted 540 participants and ended with a keynote by Roy Spence, co-founder and CEO of The Purpose Institute.

In addition, “we were honored that LGBT MPA [Meeting Professionals Association] was included as part of critical learning at 2022 Destination Showcase along with other prestigious industry organizations,” said Gary Murakami, CMP, CMM, DES, vice president of sales and industry relations for Teneo Hospitality Group. Also the vice chair of the LGBT MPA board of directors, Murakami noted that “business events are an important catalyst and conduit for social change.”

To close out the week’s events, the PCMA Foundation held its 2022 Visionary Awards, recognizing 25 event-industry players who have contributed strongly to meeting and event success within their organizations and to the wider business-events community. More than 900 guests celebrated with a red-carpet pre-show experience, an awards program, and an after-party featuring Austin-based band Love & Happiness.

Next up for the business-events industry: Global Meetings Industry Day on April 7. GMID will feature in-person gatherings of planners and suppliers in dozens of destinations around the world, as well as a 12-hour virtual broadcast by Meeting Professionals International of educational sessions and panel discussions.

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